Census '86

The 1986 CENSUSES of Population and Agriculture will take place on June 3, 1986. On that day, over nine million Canadian households will complete a CENSUS questionnaire which asks questions about age, sex, marital status, language and housing.

The 1986 CENSUS had been cancelled in November 1984 as part of the Government's effort to reduce expenditures. It was reinstated a month later after groups in both the public and private sectors, including CCLOW, indicated their need for CENSUS data.

Most households will be asked nine questions, while a sample of households - one in five - will be asked to answer a longer questionnaire with 23 additional questions on topics such as education, migration, income, labour force participation and occupation.

There are three new questions on the 1986 CENSUSES. All Canadians will be asked to answer a question concerning their aboriginal status, in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of this segment of population. For the first time, there will be a question concerning disability. The information collected by the 1986 CENSUSES on this topic will serve as a reference point for measuring improvements in the quality of life for Canada's disabled. There will also be a question concerning academic specialization, asking about the highest degrees, diplomas or certificates held. For the first time, in 1986 every questionnaire contains explanations of what information is being sought by each question and the reason for its inclusion.

The Statistics Act requires that everyone provide the information requested, in return guaranteeing absolute confidentiality of data collected on individuals. Information on individual Canadians cannot be released to any other government, department, agency or individual - even by Court order. In the 66 year history of Statistics Canada, there has never been a breach of confidence.


Self-enumeration techniques which have been used successfully since 1971 will be used again in 1986. In most cases, questionnaire packages will be delivered to every household in late May, 1986, to be filled out by respondents in the privacy of their own home on June 3. Forms will either be mailed back postage-paid or picked up after June 3 by CENSUS representatives. Special arrangements have been made to cover Canadians living in remote locations, (through canvasser enumeration) overseas or traveling during the CENSUS period.

For the 1986 CENSUSES, an estimated 25,000 temporary staff will be hired through a Federal government Youth Employment Program.

In regions of the country where a major portion of the population speaks a language other than English or French, enumerators will have questionnaire companion guides translated in 28 languages. A guide will also be available in braille for the visually impaired.

This service will be supplemented by a Telephone Assistance Service (TAS) operating out of regional centers and offering multi-language translation service. During the collection period, each TAS Office will offer a different combination of languages depending on the linguistic make-up of the region. In 1981, for example, the Toronto Region provided assistance in 20 languages in addition to French and English. Visual Ear Phone Services will be offered to the hearing impaired.

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